Scholarships Available To Help With Christian School Tuition

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Financial help is on the way for parents searching for alternatives to offset the costs of sending their children to Payson Community Christian School.

It is in the form of financial grants and scholarships given out twice a year by Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO).

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Payson Community Christian School students (left to right) Michaela Perry, Caleb Harrison and Kayla Burger finished among the top 10 students in the Math by Mail competition sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Region of the Association of Christian Schools International. Sixty-one schools and 1,370 students participated in the annual competition.

Applications are available from PCCS, and requested information must be included.

According to Teresa Purtee, principal of PCCS, staff members will mail applications to those who call the school at (928) 474-8050 and request them.

The family's tax return and a parent narrative are part of the application process.

Applications for spring tuitions are due by Feb. 28, 2005.

In making ACSTO contributions, taxpayers may recommend any child for a scholarship who is not a legal dependent. Grandparents may nominate their grandchildren.

According to Purtee, parents may not recommend someone else's child in exchange for them recommending your child.

Such an exchange is a violation of the ACSTO statutes.

When donating to ACSTO, taxpayers do not have to recommend a child for a scholarship. They may instead designate a PCCS, or another specific Christian school to receive the tax money. PCCS is, however, the only community Christian school in Payson, Purtee said.

If no recommendations are made, the school's scholarship committee chooses the applicant who will receive the grant.

"One hundred percent of what is donated goes to grants and scholarships," Purtee said.

Once all tax funds and scholarship applications are received, and the recommendations completed, a three- to five-member selection committee from the town's Christian community begins the selection process.

In making the scholarship awards, the committee considers three factors:

1. The narrative provided by the parents.

2. The financial need of the student's family.

3. The applicant's recommendations.

A formula is used to assist the committee in evaluating of the applicant family's financial situation. Tax return information is never disclosed to anyone but the committee.

ACSTO scholarship funds received from January through June are awarded in August. Those funds received July through December are doled out in April.

Other scholarship help does not have a bearing on ACSTO awards. If a student receives a scholarship, but then switches to another Christian school, the award goes with the student. If the student moves out of Arizona or opts not to attend another Christian school, the remaining money is returned to ACSTO.

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